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Tech

Pitch meeting: Syracuse students sell their ideas

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Emma Jacobs
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WRVO
Nilus Klingel and Stephen Klimek present their social start-up at the Syracuse Tech Garden.

"I have the perfect website and mobile app for you," says Kerry Maguire, a senior at Syracuse University and President of VenueSpy LLC, as he recites his pitch.

His strategy for success:

"I like to memorize what I'm saying because I'm a communications major and I'm a big fan of not saying 'um' and or 'uh'."

Maguire was one 57 students selling their ideas - and crafting their pitches - at the Syracuse Tech Garden's "Demo Day" on Wednesday.

The event gives Syracuse-area students the opportunity to pitch their real startup companies to a large crowd, and showcase a summer's worth of work.  It's part of Syracuse University's "E-nitiative" entrepreneurship program.

Potential entrepreneur Maguire was there to pitch his web streaming service, which offers club hoppers a look at what's happening inside a bar or concert venue before they head out for the night.  VenueSpy.com has already had a soft launch, which allowed Maguire to spend part of a weekend fixing technical kinks:

Maguire: I did have the screen up [at the venue]. I was checking. And it did work. Innovation Trail: You were sitting at the bar with your laptop? Maguire: Yeah. I'm reasonably biased because I started the company...but I think it's awesome.

John Liddy, entrepreneur-in-residence for the Tech Garden, says the presentation day gives the startups a chance to try and sell their business model to the public.

"They may ask you for an investment. They may ask you to be a customer. They may ask you to buy their product."

But above all else, the event is a competition, judged by the crowd. One lucky winner took home $1,000.

In the end, that winner was not bar-cam entrepreneur Kerry Maguire. The top honor went to Stampede.It, a couponing site for digital items like e-books.

Because (editorializing here for just a moment) that's just what the world really needs - another coupon site.

Hear Kerry's pitch: http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wrvo/local-wrvo-982566.mp3

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